An emotional mother in Melbourne is fighting against a system that she believes has failed her daughter. The mother claims that her daughter’s rapist, 22-year-old Tyler Sullivan, received a light sentence due to his appearance. The identity of the mother and her daughter cannot be revealed for legal reasons.
According to the mother, Sullivan began chatting with her daughter online, claiming to be 14 years old when he was actually 20. He then snuck into their home while the mother and her other child were asleep. The young victim has been left traumatized by the experience.
Sullivan pleaded guilty to charges including sexual penetration of a child under 16, possession of child abuse material, and using a carriage service for child abuse material. Despite the severity of the crimes, Sullivan was sentenced to just 12 months in prison, with the possibility of serving the remaining time at home under a three-year community corrections order.
One of the factors influencing the light sentence was Sullivan’s appearance, which is said to make him appear younger than his actual age. Judge Richard Maidment, who delivered the sentence, expressed concern for Sullivan’s safety in an adult prison due to his “childlike” appearance.
The mother expressed her disappointment in the sentence, feeling that justice was not served for her daughter or other victims of child abuse. Cybersafety expert Susan McLean also criticized the sentence, stating that sentences often do not meet community expectations and that the age of victims is getting younger.
The mother’s main priority now is to seek justice for her daughter, who will have to live with the trauma for the rest of her life.